Lathrop Report

1. Frequently Asked Questions

2 February 2024

1. Lathrop calls this “a summary”. Where is the complete information that they presented to you orally? Why so short?

The oral presentation only clarified what was said in the later written report by providing definitions and giving a historical context for the findings. All the places where they thought we had made missteps were included in both the oral and written report. This is the way they conduct their reviews.

2. The report also says that Lathrop provided additional recommendations to the Servants of the Word and Sword of the Spirit. What are they?

Where the report refers to “additional recommendations”, they are referencing the list provided at the end of the report. We are releasing everything that they have provided to us. We have already implemented many of their recommendations and are in the process of working through the remaining items.

3. How much influence did the Sword of the Spirit and the Servants of the Word have over this report?

The report was independent. Only one Servant of the Word was interviewed. The Servants of the Word had no role in the investigation and the content. Lathrop made all editorial decisions.

4. Who was interviewed and what records did investigators have access to?

Lathrop did not tell us who they interviewed, what records they reviewed, or who supplied them with information. We provided them with documents they requested, including “email correspondence, communications, written statements, and other documentation that were created close in time to actual events”.

5. Why are names removed from this report?

Lathrop does not put names in their reports to preserve the confidentiality of those who were interviewed. As attorneys and officers of the court, they are required to adhere to the facts and follow laws governing defamation and libel. We did not ask them to redact anything and they did not give us a list of the people they interviewed.

6. Who are the five Servants of the Word leaders that Lathrop recommends relinquishing certain leadership roles?

The five leaders are Dave Quintana, John Yocum, Dan Keating, Ken Noecker and Volodimir Bezulowsky. Below is what each has done:

  • Dave Quintana, John Yocum and Dan Keating have stepped down from all governmental roles within the Sword of the Spirit and from their previous roles as Presiding Elder and Regional Elders for the Servants of the Word.
  • Ken Noecker has stepped down from all governmental roles within the Sword of the Spirit and as the European and Middle East (EME) Regional Elder for the Servants of the Word.
  • Volodimir Bezulowsky has stepped down from the role of Regional (EME) Child Safeguarding Officer for the Servants of the Word.

2. Initial Response

26 January 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In keeping with our commitment to operate openly, we are publishing the Lathrop GPM report which reviewed our child safety policy and procedures as well as our handling of matters involving former brothers Ed Conlin and Jamie Treadwell. We are grateful for the report and the investigation behind it. We humbly apologize for the mistakes we made and pray that this report may bear fruit in the future for our brotherhood in the critical work of protecting children. We ask for your forgiveness.

The review was conducted independently. The process included an examination of policies and procedures, and also included a review of communications, past statements, emails, and other documentation. Lathrop interviewed a number of individuals as described in the Lathrop GPM report on the first page. Only one of our brothers was interviewed.

We have responded to many of the points raised in the report already, as can be seen in our revised Safeguarding Policy for Children, our Apologies, and in the responses to the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), all of which are posted on our website (

While there are many recommendations that we accept, there are others that need our discussion and coordination with the Sword of the Spirit and others that may require a more thorough understanding of privacy and international labor laws before we can address them.  We intend to review the report in greater detail and publish a fuller response soon, including a response to their recommendations regarding leadership positions of the five brothers. Despite those issues, we feel it is important to release the independent review without further delay.

We welcome the Sword of the Spirit’s comments on the report and look forward to working together to implement changes that benefit all our communities.

David Mijares

Presiding Elder, The Servants of the Word

3. Full Response

9 February 2024

Apologies et al.

Chelsea, Michigan – 9 February 2024

1. Letter by David Mijares

21 January 2024

Dear brothers and sisters,

We have begun to speak with the individuals and communities most affected by the Conlin–Treadwell abuse cases. We want to update you on the most recent developments and share with you the actions we will be taking in the next few weeks.

1. Status of Mediation

Three out of the four claims have been successfully mediated. One remaining claim is still in process. We recognize that mediation is simply one element of a just resolution for victim-survivors of abuse.

2. Reaching Out to Individuals

We have begun reaching out to victims and affected families with a desire to speak to them personally if they so desire. We pray and hope that this may bear some fruit in the process of healing. It is our desire to listen well, apologize, and to learn from our past.

3. Visiting Affected Communities

We are also planning to meet with those communities most impacted by the abuse cases on the following dates:

  • 21st January—The Work of Christ–Lansing
  • 28th January—The Word of Life–Ann Arbor
  • 5th of February—Charis–Belfast
  • 11th February—The Light of Christ–Grand Rapids
  • Antioch–London — We are working with the leaders there to determine the best way to address their community.

We ask you to pray for these gatherings.  We desire to ask forgiveness for any failings. We want everything we say will be pleasing to the Lord, will be accurate, and will demonstrate that we in the Servants of the Word are making necessary changes at this important moment.

Our presentations to each community will contain an apology on behalf of the Servants of the Word. The main content of these apologies will consist of:

  • A General apology of the Servants of the Word.
  • A Thematic apology in four main areas.
  • The steps taken by the Servants of the Word to improve our policies and practices.
  • Frequently asked questions.

We know that you have been waiting for us to speak for a long time. We are grateful to now have that opportunity.  We trust the Lord will guide these important steps we are taking. We are grateful for your immense patience and your fervent prayers as we seek to move forward on this path.

On behalf of all the Servants of the Word,

Your brother in Christ,

Important Updates

David Mijares

Go to Table of Contents

2. David Mijares’ Opening Statement

21 January 2024

I want to start by apologizing that it has taken so long to get to the point where we can have a meeting like this. We know the delay has been very difficult for all of you. It has been very difficult for us as well. The process of getting to today has been hard and has had countless delays. We are painfully aware of the damage that our silence has caused our communities during this time and are cognizant that we have lost the trust of many of you. Now we can speak more openly about what has occurred as three out of the four mediations cases are complete. We are also grateful for the work done by Lathrop GPM in performing an independent review.

I want to briefly explain the process of the Lathrop independent review. In 2020, the International Executive Council of Sword of the Spirit and The Servants of the Word engaged the firm Lathrop GPM to conduct an independent review regarding current child safety policies and procedures and also to carefully look at how the organizations had responded to the matters involving Ed Conlin and Jamie Treadwell. The review of how we responded to these matters was significantly delayed due to Covid, the criminal case against Jamie Treadwell, and the civil lawsuits filed against Sword of the Spirit and the Servants of the Word. However, Lathrop was able to provide some initial recommendations on our policies and procedures for child safety and they did so in an oral presentation in November 2022.

Some of the recommendations were already in place, whereas others needed to be considered further. The independent review did not get completed until after the civil litigation was substantially over in December 2023.  At that point, a second oral presentation was made by Lathrop to review their findings to both the Sword of the Spirit and the Servants of the Word. We took this into account in our statements today. Lathrop GPM on Friday evening of January 19, 2024 provided us with a written report of their findings and recommendations. We will publish the full written report and our response soon.

We have wanted to speak to families and those victims who might want to talk with us. In some cases, we were directed, and in others advised, to not take the initiative with them. We have now started reaching out to families and individuals with the hope that they will want to meet with us.  Additionally, we are open to meeting with any community member who wants to speak with us.

The elders of the Servants of the Word have had many discussions about mistakes we made in our handling of the Jamie Treadwell and Ed Conlin matters and about our responsibility to report to you about them and, where possible, rectify them. We are here today to begin that process. We want to express our heartfelt sorrow for the harm caused to children and families in Belfast, London and Michigan by two former members of our brotherhood. We repent and ask forgiveness of the victim-survivors, their families, and our communities for any wrongful actions of those two former SW members and also for the mistakes and errors in judgment we made in responding to these matters. And we also want to particularly apologize to women who were not included in the process and to those women whose concerns were not given sufficient weight.

We recognize that we cannot restore the life of a child who has been abused nor can we repair the damage that impacts them and their families even today. We pray for their healing, and we desire justice to be done. We know and understand that you have lost a great deal of trust in us. It is our prayer and intention that by examining our steps, recognizing failures, admitting mistakes, identifying blind spots we may have, and working to repair any harm caused by our two brothers, we can contribute to healing and restoration.

The wrongdoing of Ed and Jamie have caused harm to this and other communities, their evangelistic outreaches, and the entire Sword of the Spirit. We express our sorrow for this.  We also express our sorrow for how we handled these matters. We recognize these things have resulted in members leaving communities, others expressing grave doubts about our way of life, negative impact on evangelistic efforts, and a reputational loss to our entire movement. Many of our outreaches, especially our university outreaches, have been impacted in many ways, including the loss of supporters. For this we are sorry and ask your forgiveness. We also recognize that these two men’s sin and the way we have handled them has resulted in the needed investment of countless painfully spent hours by the leaders of your and other communities as well as others in the Sword of the Spirit. We are sorry these hours are lost and cannot be regained.

In all that follows, we aim to be truthful and honest and account for where we failed. Parts of what we share will be humbling and painful to present, and we know that it will be equally painful to hear.

Our presentation will include information about our failings, missteps, and errors in judgment in how we responded to these matters. Some of the leaders in the SW who have been involved in handling these cases will be presenting personal apologies.

We will take the findings and recommendations of the Lathrop GPM written report very seriously regarding our failings, missteps, and opportunities to improve our response to child safety issues. We hope that acknowledging our mistakes will allow us to grapple together with the truth, and to move forward in creating safer communities, better accountability, and healing. I repeat that we are deeply sorry for what we failed to do or did not properly do, and we ask your forgiveness. We know that these words must be backed by changes in practice, policies, and attitudes. At the end of our presentation, we will describe the changes we have now put in place. We will not tolerate abusive behavior or violations of our safeguarding policy by any brother. We commit to carefully and fully following our new and robust safeguarding policy which has been updated with the help of Praesidium, a leading safeguarding consulting organization. In addition, we are open to other reviews and visitations that may identify more things we need to change. And we are open to hearing any recommendations you may wish to suggest to us.

Finally, we recognize the danger of a celebrity status that has sometimes been given to SW brothers, and that we have not always understood our contribution to it. We are looking at this time for God’s grace to become more humble and more of a servant brotherhood. Our purpose is to honor God and serve our people – you, our brothers and sisters in the Sword of the Spirit. We want to take a servant’s place, not expecting or looking for recognition or honor, but only to advance His kingdom in the ways that He calls us and allows us.

God bless you and thank you for your love and support.

3. Apologies

21 January 2024


We, as leaders of the Servants of the Word, recognize that many of you hold us responsible, at least partially, for the harm that has happened from the actions of Jamie Treadwell and Ed Conlin. We are men flawed by sin and the weakness this brings, and we regret that these have contributed to the harm done to any individual and to our communities. We share with you so that we can ask your forgiveness and by doing so, aid in the process of healing for individuals, families, and communities.

1. Failures to Recognize the Seriousness of the Problem
  • Before Jamie Treadwell moved to the US from London, he was in serious crisis about many areas of his life and mission. There were also instances of concern expressed regarding Jamie relating to children. Some of these were shared by Jamie himself, e.g., he felt he was spending too much time with families with children. He reported having called a child safeguarding hotline to get input on this pattern. Some of these were expressed by others and since we understood these to be “concerns” and not complaints or allegations of wrongdoing or criminal actions, we did not recognize the danger he posed.
    • We responded to them as pastoral issues rather than safeguarding issues.
    • We did not register these with the safeguarding officers of the local communities.
    • We did not do a thorough investigation of these concerns or of Jamie’s self-reported interactions with children.
    • While we referred him for psychological counselling, we did not specifically ask for counselling about child safety.
  • We did not “connect the dots.” While more than one Servant of the Word leader heard of concerns or of Jamie’s self-reporting, we did not communicate sufficiently with one another in such a way that we would recognize the patterns and problems of Jamie’s behavior toward children. Since these concerns were not consistently recorded or communicated, we did not detect a behavioral pattern
  • Shortly before Jamie moved to the US from the UK, we were strongly advised by a lawyer friend with whom Jamie had consulted that Jamie should not have contact with children.
    • It was agreed that a pastoral plan would be put in place to cover this concern. A pastoral plan was not put in place and the concern was not shared with the Servants of the Word in the US or with the leaders of communities in the North American Region.
    • We, once again, related to this as a pastoral matter in which we spoke to Jamie about not having contact with families with young girls to which Jamie agreed.
    • We did not understand what Jamie’s behavior pointed towards; thus, we did not have a safety plan in place. Hence, we allowed Jamie to be an artist in residence at a school in Grand Rapids.
  • For these misjudgments, and failures of action we apologize and ask your forgiveness.
2. Failures in Communication
  • We put greater trust in the self-reporting and testimony of the brothers than we did in the information shared by victims and families or concerns expressed by others.
    • When Jamie self-reported concerns in the way he was relating to families and children, we thought of this as important self-knowledge and as virtuous rather than as alarming confessions.
    • We believed Ed’s explanations regarding how he was relating to teenaged girls in Belfast over the reports made by others who had witnessed his relating to the teenaged girls. We now understand that Ed should have been dismissed from the Servants of the Word instead of being moved to the United States.
  • We failed in communicating Ed’s past conduct and his restrictions as we re-integrated Ed into the Servants of the Word in North American in 1998, into the Word of Life community (previously named “Washtenaw Covenant Community”) in 2001, and later into its Detroit Outreach. In hindsight, we should have informed all the brothers of the Servants of the Word, all the leaders of the Word of Life, and all the adult members of the Word of Life with more details of Ed’s conduct in Belfast and of the restrictions placed on him.
    • We have come to understand that it would have been a protection to have the whole brotherhood and the whole community helping to monitor his behavior. We recognize it is essential that parents have this information so they can decide how they as a family will relate to the offender and how they will choose to protect their children.
  • While some leaders were made aware of his conduct and restrictions at the time Ed first came to the US, we took insufficient care in communicating and clarifying this information with new leaders of the Servants of the Word, the Word of Life Community, and the Detroit project as they succeeded to their positions of leadership over the years after Ed’s integration.
  • We did not adequately listen to concerns raised about Ed’s interactions with young women, especially concerns raised by other women. We could have done better by recording any concerns that were expressed, thereby helping to recognize patterns of unhelpful and improper relating. We ask forgiveness of any woman who experienced harm or disrespect due to these things and are eager to express this in person.
  • We could have done better in communicating to leaders in our communities our “Rules of Wisdom” for interactions with children, youth, and women, our approaches to travel, and our standards and policies of implementing accountability and pastoral care. Meetings to present this kind of information are meant to be a regular component of our interaction with leaders of the communities in which we have houses.
3. Failures in Our Oversight and Monitoring of Ed and Jamie
  • We confess that we were naive over the two men’s will or ability to reform, especially in light of patterns of dishonesty displayed by both of them. Similarly, we confess naïveté and pride over our ability to help these brothers reform and our ability to effectively monitor them in the process of reform.
  • As we look back over the past twenty-five years, we have come to see that we were either ignorant, naïve, proud, or a combination of all these, in the belief that we could provide proper care and supervision for Ed after his failures in Belfast. We apologize for this and ask forgiveness.
  • We established elements of a safety plan for oversight of Ed, with the direct aim of providing an ongoing safe environment for minors and women. We recognize now that this was inadequate in conception and implementation. We should have established a non-Servants of the Word oversight group that included women who had regular contact with Ed to also review the elements of the safety plan and implementation of it.
  • We committed not to have Ed assigned to work with minors (youth work), and to avoid situations that would provide extended/repeated contact with minors. However, there were instances where we allowed Ed to have contact with youth environments or with mission groups that included minors. We recognize our misjudgment in allowing Ed to be present at these events/activities.
  • We required Ed to follow our SW guidelines in relating to adult women, and to report all one-to-one meetings with women to his accountability group. We carried out a yearly formal review of this. However, we did not properly judge the potential for ongoing harm of having Ed relate to women. We recognize that our oversight of Ed’s interactions with women was insufficient in that it did not restrict interactions that led to intense emotional relationships and did not include a means of reviewing how these interactions were being experienced by the women involved.
  • Jamie agreed with his elder who lived in Belfast to have very limited contact with families with young girls, but the brothers in London were not informed about this. As mentioned earlier, he was advised by the lawyer to restrict Jamie’s relating to children. We failed to do this. Therefore, Jamie was not held to greater account than any other brother in the Servants of the Word.
4. Failure to Communicate Concern for Others, Especially the Victims and Families of the Victims.
  • As we came to a greater understanding of the gravity and abusive nature of Ed’s interactions with the teenaged girls in Belfast, our actions in retaining Ed as a member of the Servants of the Word failed to communicate to Ed’s victims that we believed and took seriously their testimonies.
    • Seeing Ed’s picture on social media, at times in the presence of minors and other times in Servant of the Word events, communicated to victims that Ed was living life as normal without restrictions. We failed to recognize the impact this was having on the victims.
  • When concerns came to light and allegations were made against Jamie, we were too slow in recognizing/admitting the possibility of abusive actions by Jamie.
  • We put too much weight on law enforcement’s decision to not prosecute Jamie, rather than on the weight and credibility of the allegations against him. This was a significant factor in why it took several years to terminate his membership in the Servants of the Word.
  • We overapplied the principle of “one’s entitlement to one’s good name” versus showing families and others that we were taking their accusations seriously. This was especially the case in our not communicating the restrictions we placed on Jamie. This left families and those who know them believing that we judged Jamie’s behavior to have been unproblematic.

In conclusion, we are asking you, our brothers and sisters, to forgive us:

  1. For placing too high a value on Jamie and Ed’s version of what happened and allowing them to convince us there was no wrongdoing and taking them at their word,
  2. For not being sufficiently equipped or trained to know how to deal with these matters,
  3. For not listening more to people who raised concerns,
  4. For not sufficiently sharing information with one another so that we could identify, investigate, and document inappropriate patterns of behavior,
  5. In some cases, for not putting greater restrictions on the offenders and not adequately monitoring those restrictions, and not implementing greater consequences for violating restrictions,
  6. For not utilizing external third-party investigations in some cases, and for not doing so sooner in others,
  7. For allowing our actions to be unduly influenced by law enforcement and prosecution decisions,
  8. For not adequately communicating to this community the concerns, limitations and restrictions imposed on both Jamie and Ed,
  9. For not communicating the issues to new leaders responsible for managing them,
  10. For failing to see that it would have been better to dismiss Ed and Jamie sooner. This is what we would do today under our current safeguarding policy.

As we ask for your forgiveness, brothers and sisters, we also ask the Lord to have mercy on us.

4. Steps We Are Taking

21 January 2024

We have been asked by you and other communities to share what we have done in the last number of years after the Ed and Jamie issues first surfaced. This next set of comments is a response to this request in which we present a brief summary of the changes we have made and are in the process of making. We also plan to have a more thorough outside visitation of our life as Servants of the Word which we think will provide additional helpful input for us.  We will also further review and consider Lathrop GPM’s recent recommendations.

We have broken down the changes & steps into the following areas:

Reaching Out to the Victim Survivors
  1. We are reaching out to those who have been harmed unless there are restrictions. We are committed to helping the victim-survivors of the abuse done by our brothers and our own failures in handling these. We want to listen to their concerns and proposals for changes we should make, and to offer them financial assistance for counselling if needed.
Safeguarding Policy for Children
  1. We have appointed Child Protection Officers in all our regions, and they have all received training. We have a revised Safeguarding Policy for Children (SPC) which was crafted with the help of an outside professional consulting firm, Praesidium. The policy calls for the appointment of external Review Boards, which we have implemented. The policy also strengthens our onboarding process for new brothers including screening processes which emphasize child protection. You can find all of this on our website. Praesidium has also provided training for our Child Protection Officers. All the brothers throughout the world have received safeguarding training, most of which was through Praesidium.
Disciplinary Measures
  1. As stated in our Safeguarding Policy, any allegation of child abuse will be reported to law enforcement. We are committed to being open with our communities where wrongdoing has occurred in the area of safeguarding. We are implementing disciplinary measures which begin with correction and education regarding boundary violations, communicating safety plans to community leaders and community members, and could lead up to dismissal for repeated and/or serious violations of the Safeguarding Policy. Most importantly, we have decided that a confirmed case of sexual abuse of a minor is grounds for immediate dismissal from the Brotherhood. In the case that a brother is not dismissed, a Safety Plan will be put in place for such a brother. When a Safety Plan is put in place, this information will be made publicly available to the local community and placed on our website.
Policy Development
  1. We are further developing our policies and process for transferring brothers between regions and between communities within a region, with an emphasis on ensuring that child protection issues are communicated to the local leadership and Child Protection Officers of the community receiving a transferred brother.
Pastoral Work and Care for Our Brothers
  1. We started a process of reviewing our SW small groups to improve our ability to get at real issues, increase our support of each other, and help brothers with their challenges and accountability.
  2. We have offered ways for our brothers to receive help from people outside of SW, including spiritual direction and personal counselling, to address both long-term and short-term issues a brother may be facing.
Integration with Communities
  1. We are working to better integrate ourselves into local communities in both life and service. We also want to improve communication and establish ways to enable our communities to give us clear input, with special emphasis on obtaining feedback from our sisters.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why did it take you so long to address the communities?

The process has been painful and fraught with delays—let us briefly explain.

  • In early 2020 the Sword of the Spirit and the Servants of the Word decided to commission an Independent Review by Lathrop GPM, a firm that had performed reviews for other religious organizations. The plan was to have the review completed, determine our responses, and then address the communities.
  • With Jamie Treadwell’s arrest in May 2020, authorities in both the US and the UK directed us not to discuss these matters out of respect for the legal process. That delayed the review. Lathrop was also asked by the Grand Rapids prosecutor to hold off their investigation until the prosecutor was finished with his criminal case.
  • Covid-19 also significantly delayed the legal processes. The courts in Michigan were closed for a significant amount of time.
  • Then, soon after the courts were reopened and the conclusion of the Treadwell legal process, civil suits were filed against Servants of the Word and Sword of the Spirit and a number of individuals. When the plaintiffs requested mediation, we agreed, seeking to cooperate and reach a just resolution to each case. The mediator asked us to refrain from speaking publicly during the negotiations as mediation confidentiality is required by the Michigan Court Rules. We have resolved 3 of the 4 cases.
  • We did not anticipate how long this process would take. We are fully and painfully aware of the damage our silence caused our communities, and the confusion, disappointment, and anxiety it brought to our friends and supporters, and we are greatly relieved we can speak more openly now that the mediation has only one remaining case.
2. You stated that you have resolved three of the four cases in mediation. Can you provide any more detail on the case that is still open?

A court appointed mediator has asked us to refrain from talking about ongoing matters.

We cannot at this time refer more to this case. But we can say that the remaining case has not been filed as a lawsuit; the other 3 cases were filed as lawsuits before they went to mediation.

3. Will you make available to the public the full Lathrop report?

Yes, the full Lathrop report will be available soon.

4. Do you intend to meet with the victims?

Yes, we have begun reaching out to victims and affected families with a desire to speak to them personally. We pray and hope that this may bear some fruit in the process of healing. It is our desire to listen well, apologize, and to learn from them about how they viewed our past actions.

5. When did you find out about Ed Conlin’s abuse in Belfast and what did you do about it?

In 1996, various people raised concerns about how Ed Conlin was interacting with a teenage girl based on their observations, or reports heard from others, including a third hand report that Conlin allegedly kissed this girl. He was questioned about his behavior and denied any wrongdoing or wrongful intent. Conlin was admonished for how he interacted with young people. At one point, he was reported having been seen in a car with a teenage girl. He said he was teaching her to drive but was told any similar incident would lead to his removal from youth work. We, however, failed to initiate a safeguarding investigation at the time.

Two years later, Conlin admitted to kissing an 18-year-old girl who was involved with the youth organization. At the same time, a second girl, who was the subject of the earlier concerns, alleged that over a period of two years, Conlin involved her in sexual behavior, short of intercourse. When confronted with this allegation, Conlin confessed.

The youth organization, led by local leaders that involved Servants of the Word, began a dismissal process. A law firm and the Labor Relations Agency were consulted about the process. A disciplinary hearing was convened, Conlin attended but did not speak, evidence was presented and he was dismissed from the youth organization.

Also, in 1998, the youth organization reported Conlin’s activity to the Northern Ireland Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Social Services. The police declined to pursue the matter, said that they required no further action, and informed Social Services that Conlin could leave the country. It was then that Conlin returned to his home country of the United States.

6. Why did you attempt to rehabilitate Ed Conlin after his serious moral failure in Belfast?

We did consider dismissing Conlin back in 1998. Conlin wanted to remain in the Servants of the Word and was eager to go through a process of rehabilitation, including a season of several years of living at our rural headquarters and repentance and receiving counseling.  At that time, we felt that was an appropriate way forward. We believe that a dismissal would have been more appropriate, and it is what we would do today if facing a similar situation.

7. When Ed Conlin moved from Northern Ireland to the U.S., what safeguards did you put in place?

After his dismissal from the youth organization, and when the police stated that he was free to leave the country, the Servants of the Word leadership brought Conlin back to Michigan. He underwent two and a half years of discipline and review that included psychological and spiritual counseling and practical service—cooking, cleaning, and other work in brotherhood homes, which he did willingly and with remorse.  We made a firm decision after his return to the US that Conlin would not be assigned to youth work, that is, that he would not serve on the staff of a youth program. This was to ensure that Conlin would not have long-term, ongoing relationships with minors and especially with teenage girls.

In hindsight we should have done more to establish distance between Conlin and environments in which minors could be present, and a better job at monitoring him while he was in the US.

8. When did you first become aware of concerns about Jamie Treadwell?

Before Jamie Treadwell moved to the US from London, several people expressed concerns about how Treadwell related to children. No one alleged sexual misbehavior or requested that Treadwell stop coming to their homes, according to our records and memories. Treadwell himself shared with a Servant of the Word leader that he was spending too much time with families. He also called a child safeguarding hotline to get input on this pattern. We understood these to be “concerns” and not “complaints or allegations” of wrongdoing or criminal actions. Recently we came to understand that the person who raised the concerns most strongly considered that he was raising an allegation that he thought Treadwell might be abusing minors. We failed to recognize a potential problem.

9. What were the reasons that Jamie Treadwell moved back to the U.S.?

Treadwell experienced an increasing dissatisfaction with his life and service in the Sword of the Spirit and the Servants of the Word over a period of many years and for that reason the brotherhood leadership thought it good for him to move back to his home state. We had not comprehended at the time of his move, though we should have, that he posed a risk to children.

10. When and where did you first hear a clear or direct allegation about sexual misbehavior against Jamie Treadwell?

In late September to early October of 2016, in Michigan, when we received reports from two families that Treadwell had been visiting, both with young daughters. The first direct allegation in the UK was raised in late 2019.

Prior to his move to the US in 2015, as stated in our apology, concerns had been raised about his interaction with children. We did not understand them to be allegations of sexual misbehavior.

11. How did you respond to those allegations?

On September 30, 2016, Treadwell was informed that a family in Grand Rapids had an allegation against him that they were bringing to the police.

On October 3, 2016, the Servants of the Word put Treadwell on administrative leave and barred him from unsupervised contact with minors. On October 5th of the same year, we moved him to the Brotherhood Center in Chelsea.

After contacting the family in Grand Rapids on October 7, on October 16, 2016, John Yocum went to Grand Rapids and met with the parents who had filed the charges against Treadwell.

Also in October, Ken Noecker, the Presiding Elder, asked the International Executive Council of the Sword of the Spirit to conduct a further investigation into Treadwell’s behavior in the UK.

12. Have there been other confirmed cases against Servants of the Word?

There is one other case that occurred decades ago. According to our approved safeguarding policies all confirmed cases are posted on our website. They can be found here.


Chelsea, Michigan – 22 December 2023

Update from the Presiding Elder

As this year draws to a close, and after a few months in my role as Presiding Elder, I wanted to update you on developments in connection with the abuse cases which we have been dealing with over the past while. I have been wanting to contact you earlier with some news; unfortunately, many of the steps envisioned have taken a lot longer than anticipated, plus we have been—and to a certain degree still are—under legal restrictions due to cases being in the process of mediation. Still, I want to share with you as extensively as I can where we stand.

Measures taken in the past few months

All the elders of the Servants of the Word met at the end of August in Michigan, and a large part of our discussions centered on the whole area of Safeguarding. Most notably we approved a new “Safeguarding Policy for Children”: this revision is based on discussions with SOS leaders and especially the consulting help of Praesidium, probably the foremost US organization advising religious institutions in the area of Child Protection.

We have either established or are in the process of establishing independent Review Boards in each region where we have S/W houses. These boards are meant to assist in, advise and review when allegations are brought against a particular brother. You can find a fuller description of their role and compositions here as well as a description of how we will receive outside help in the EME region. I would also refer you to a whole new Safeguarding section on our website which also includes emergency contacts for this area in each region. As our advisors have told us, the area of Child Protection is a work in progress, and we should expect further edits and changes in the years to come. But we believe that these procedures represent important steps forward which correspond to current best practices.

Regarding the legal cases that we have been involved in; four claims have now been settled out of court, and one other claim is still in process. As soon as there is more news regarding this claim, you will be able to find it here.

Next Steps

Presently we are in the process of preparing to speak to a number of SOS communities about these matters. When the legal cases are resolved, we want to be able to reach out to victims, to meet with our communities and express our sorrow for what has happened as well as our commitment to doing everything we can to prevent something like this from happening again.

With regards to the independent review that was commissioned, it is moving towards its conclusion, and we will update you on that in the New Year.

We sincerely hope that this mail will help clear up the many questions and the confusion that you may have. Needless to say, this is a very difficult time, not only for us, but for many of the affected communities and particular individuals. We pray fervently for their healing and restoration and that God would help us be a brotherhood at the service of the Sword of the Spirit. I would cherish your prayers for our elders and all the brothers during this time.

Thank you for taking time to read this. Feel free to pass it on as you see fit.

Chelsea, Michigan – 8 June 2023

Below is a statement by Dave Quintana:

Over the past while, I have been in consultation with the Servants of the Word elders and some Sword of the Spirit leaders, including at the recent SOS International Assembly. It has become clear to me that one way to express how seriously we as the Servants of the Word are taking the current situation would be for me to resign as Presiding Elder. Thus, effective immediately, I am resigning. The elders of the Servants of the Word have asked David Mijares, our Presiding Elder-elect, to begin serving as our Presiding Elder. David was elected last August and began his leadership transition process soon afterward. David’s excellent leadership will guide us moving forward and help us determine the steps we need to take in the season ahead. It has been a privilege for me to serve the Lord and the brothers, and I look forward to continuing to serve as the Lord leads.

Chelsea, Michigan – 28 August 2022

The Servants of the Word Council elected David Mijares from Mexico as their next Presiding Elder. He will begin his four-year term a year from now.

Chelsea, Michigan – 22 January 2022

Bruce Yocum, US brother and former Presiding Elder, passed away in London on 21 January 2022.

Chelsea, Michigan – 2 September 2021

The following brothers made a Lifelong Commitment to the Servants of the Word: Kenneth Carandang from the Philippines, Adrian Menezes from India, Will Cannon from the US, Guillermo Camillo from the Dominican Republic and Paul Codouni from Lebanon.

Chelsea, Michigan – 6 November 2020

Mike Shaughnessy was interviewed by EWTN about “Grandly-Strategic Grandparenting“.

Chelsea, Michigan – 16 June 2020

Our US brother Mike Shaughnessy has published a new book called “The Strategic Grandparent”. For more details, listen to an interview with him

Ed Conlin

Chelsea, Michigan – 18 May 2023

In late March 2023, Servants of the Word announced another allegation made against Ed Conlin involving misconduct with a minor. Following our announcement, the Servants of the Word and Ed Conlin together initiated a termination process; as the conclusion to this process, Ed has requested termination from the Servants of the Word. Effective May 18, 2023, Ed Conlin’s membership in Servants of the Word has been terminated. He is no longer a member of the Servants of the Word or the Sword of the Spirit.

Chelsea, Michigan – 29 March 2023

It is with great sadness that we inform you of a misconduct allegation that has recently come to our attention involving one of our members, Ed Conlin. This new allegation against Ed Conlin accuses him of sexual conduct with a minor in North America. We have taken this allegation seriously. In alignment with our Safeguarding Policies we promptly reported the allegation to law enforcement. We will fully cooperate with any investigation that may be conducted by such authorities.

Based upon this new complaint, Ed Conlin has been placed on administrative leave by the Servants of the Word and is suspended indefinitely from any participation in the Sword of the Spirit. This means that Ed Conlin may not attend any Sword of the Spirit functions, will not serve in any ministry of any kind in the Servants of the Word or the Sword of the Spirit, nor visit homes of or socialize with families either within or outside the Sword of the Spirit.We have also urged that all SOS communities in North America refrain from singing Ed Conlin songs during gatherings and other common times of worship.

Given that this matter has been referred to proper legal authorities, we are limited in what we can say. When we have more information that we are permitted to share, we will pass it along immediately.

We urge and encourage anyone who is aware of any other situations of concern or other allegations of abuse to please contact the appropriate authorities and/or our Child Protection Officer Dan Rinke [Phone: (734) 475-3550 ext. 250; email:] promptly.

For now, we ask your earnest prayers for all of those involved in this difficult situation. Let us pray for all those who have suffered and continue to suffer from the scourge of sexual abuse in our midst and in our broader society.

Jamie Treadwell

Chelsea Michigan – 15 April 2022

On April 13, 2022, Jamie Treadwell was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, 14-days jail time (which he already served) and to be on the Public Sex Offender Registry.  Our hearts continue to go out to all who have been harmed by his actions and we pray that these proceedings coming to a conclusion will be of help and comfort for them.

Chelsea Michigan – 01 March 2022

On Monday, February 28, 2022, former Servants of the Word member Jamie
Treadwell entered a plea of no contest to one count of attempted Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd degree. Our hearts go out to all who have been harmed by his actions. We pray that these proceedings give them some solace.

We also want to thank law enforcement and the district attorney’s office for the care and diligence they have shown throughout this investigation. The safety and well-being of children in our care has always been a high priority and we deeply regret the harm Mr. Treadwell’s actions have caused. Though policies were in place, since learning of the behavior of Mr. Treadwell, we initiated a careful review of our child protection policies under the guidance of Praesidium, a child protection consultant, and instituted additional child protection training for all members.

A member of Servants of the Word since 1987, Mr. Treadwell ended all association with our organization in December 2019.

If you have any child protection concerns, questions, or information, please contact the authorities directly, and/or contact us at, or call (734) 475-3550, extension 250. For media queries, please contact

Servants of the Word is an international, ecumenical brotherhood of Christian men who have made traditional promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Established in 1971 with headquarters in Chelsea, Michigan, we have roughly 65 permanent members living in our houses in six countries. We live communally, sharing all finances and possessions. While our members work in many fields, including engineering, academia, software programming, psychiatry, counseling, and youth work, we share the mission of bringing Christian teaching to young people and adults and in assisting Christian communities around the world.

Chelsea, Michigan – 11 May 2020
Amended 13 May 2020
Amended 19 May 2020

It is with great concern and sorrow for those affected that we report on Monday, May 11, 2020, that former Servants of the Word member Jamie Treadwell was arraigned on two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree.

We place a high priority on the safety and well-being of every child in our care; we deeply regret the harm that his actions may have caused to children, their families, and our community. We have been fully cooperating with those investigating this matter and will continue to do so. We encourage anyone with any pertinent information about Mr. Treadwell’s activities to please contact the police and/or us.

A member of Servants of the Word since 1987, Mr. Treadwell ended all association with the organization in December 2019. As a member of the Servants of the Word he held a variety of service roles and occupations in the UK from 1986 to 2015, and in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2015 to 2016.

In late September 2016 two Michigan families raised allegations about Mr. Treadwell’s behavior with their young daughters. We put him on administrative leave, changed his residence to our rural headquarters in Chelsea, Michigan, and restricted his activities. Police investigated the allegations, but no charges were filed at that time.

In early November Mr. Treadwell requested to begin a process to terminate his membership. His membership was terminated on December 15, 2019 and the circumstances around it were announced on our website.

Servants of the Word is an international, ecumenical brotherhood of Christian men who have made traditional promises of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Established in 1971 with headquarters in Chelsea, Michigan, we have roughly 60 permanent members living in our houses in 6 countries. We live communally, sharing all finances and possessions. While our members work in many fields, including engineering, academia, software programming, psychiatry, counselling and youth work, we share the mission of bringing Christian teaching to young people and adults and in assisting Christian communities around the world.

We deeply regret the distress that Mr. Treadwell’s actions have caused.

If you have any child protection concerns please contact the authorities directly or you can contact us at or call (734) 475-3550 x250. For media queries, please contact or call (734) 215-7525 with any additional questions.

Chelsea, Michigan – 24 April 2020

Dear Friends,
I hope and pray that this will find you doing well, having a blessed Easter season and staying safe and virus-free. I imagine that your experience of these days, like my own, is both troubling and perplexing. My prayer is that somehow the current situation leads to people turning to God in a fuller, more whole-hearted way.

The last time many of you heard from us was with the news of Jamie Treadwell having left us amidst allegations of inappropriate behavior with children. Some of you are aware that, following Jamie’s departure and a program broadcast on Michigan Radio, the name of Ed Conlin was raised in connection with serious events which occurred two decades ago in West Belfast. They led to his dismissal from the youth organization that he worked for at that time. We want you to know that we are working on this situation, including engaging the aggrieved parties and others involved as best as we are able to at this time during lockdown, and we will communicate more about this in the future.

We regret profoundly the harm, trouble and shame that this situation has brought and we sincerely solicit your prayers and help as we endeavor to regain your confidence and trust. Needless to say, this has been an extremely difficult time for us and has led to a lot of soul searching by the Servants of the Word.

A sober assessment of these situations has revealed areas for improvement in our safeguarding policies and procedures for brothers working with youth and children. To this end, we are committed to learning what we need to and to taking new measures or accomplishing ones that we already had in process.

I would like to share with you some of the first steps we have taken toward redressing the situation:

  1. We will continue our efforts to reach out to aggrieved parties in whatever ways seem appropriate.
  2. We have updated our Child Protection Policy (CPP) and it is now available in English and in Spanish.
  3. We have begun the process of training all of our brothers in the revised CPP. The first meeting in North America was attended by 37 brothers and was held on 29th February 2020. The next North American session was tentatively scheduled for 18th April 2020, but had to be cancelled because of the virus. We will reschedule as soon as possible. The Asian region also had their first session a month ago.
  4. Each region of the Servants of the Word will establish an external Review Board. These boards will examine, review and advise on any future child protection issue or other allegation made regarding the Servants of the Word or one of its brothers. It will also review the implementation of our revised CPP and advise on future revisions. It will take some time to put these Review Boards in place and we will keep you informed as this process progresses.
  5. The Sword of the Spirit, in conjunction with the Servants of the Word, is commissioning an independent review of our handling of child protection cases over the past years.
  6. We are in the process of retaining “Praesidium” a premiere external organization in the US which consults with Religious Congregations on Child Protection, to help us review our CPP and standard operating procedures.
  7. We are in the process of setting up a dedicated phone number that people can call if they have concerns about any of our brothers.

Let me conclude by saying that the safety of the children and youth entrusted to us continues to be of paramount importance to us and we want to make sure that everyone involved experiences that. We hope these measures will be the beginning of a process of rebuilding trust among all of you whom we serve. We will keep you informed as we take the next steps.

I welcome any questions, feedback or input you may have; we are keenly aware of the need for help to get this area right. Thank you for your help and your prayers.

Your brother in Christ,
David Quintana

Chelsea, Michigan – 31 January 2020

Dear friends of the Servants of the Word,

Some of you may have listened to and been troubled by an investigative report about Jamie Treadwell on a local Michigan radio program named “Stateside.” The report deals with the disturbing details surrounding Jamie’s inappropriate behavior with the children of two Michigan families. We do deeply regret the distress which has been caused and any harm that has been done to individuals and families.

While the report is generally factual we do want to point out several important inaccuracies.

The investigative report states that leaders of the Servants of the Word would not talk to Michigan Radio. In fact, we did respond promptly and accurately to their detailed questions in a series of emails.

The report also implies that we had clear, actionable knowledge of similar complaints from multiple families against Jamie for the past ten years. This is not true—if we had had that kind of knowledge we would have acted on it.

Finally, the report implies that we are concealing information about other complaints that have emerged. As we said in our public statement of December 2019, we had only recently become aware of new allegations. Those raising new allegations are dealing with the appropriate child protection authorities in their area. They have asked not to disclose any information to protect the privacy of those involved. We will continue to respect their request for privacy in this matter.

The safeguarding of children is an overarching priority in our mission and programs. As a brotherhood of celibate men living in the midst of families, we know the importance of the trust placed in us and we recognize that in this case, that trust has been damaged.

If you have any questions, concerns or information you would like to convey, please contact Stuart Ferguson at

Chelsea, Michigan – 15 December 2019

James Wallace (Jamie) Treadwell’s membership in The Servants of the Word has been terminated. At his request, Jamie began a formal process of termination in early November 2019. The request for termination was granted and became effective on December 15, 2019. Jamie has been a member since September 1987.

His termination of membership follows a period beginning in early October 2016, when two families in Michigan raised serious concerns about Jamie with local police, alleging inappropriate relating to and/or touching their minor daughters. Jamie denied the allegations. Police investigated both complaints and no charges were filed. Just recently, previously unreported concerns of a similar nature, from prior to September 2016, were reported and have been brought to appropriate child protection agencies for their review.

Upon hearing of the allegations from 2016, we reached out to those who may have been harmed in order to listen and respond to them. The Servants of the Word immediately applied certain precautionary measures, requiring that Jamie have no contact with minors outside his own family. To the best of our knowledge, Jamie has complied with these restrictions since that time. As part of our response, we also convened an independent panel of advisors that included mental health and child protection experts to review our actions and to offer advice on the best way to proceed, and we have followed their counsel to the best of our abilities.

The Servants of the Word sincerely regret the distress which has been caused. The safeguarding of children is an overarching priority in our mission and programs. As a brotherhood of celibate men living in the midst of families, we know the importance of the trust placed in us and we recognize that in this case, that trust was damaged.

If you have any questions, concerns or information you would like to convey, please contact Stuart Ferguson at

Please join us in prayer for those who experience pain and suffering in the midst of this situation.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search